Getting to know: Adam Courchaine
Adam Courchaine’s scout report on ipc-hockey.com reads “A terrific skater with a very hard and accurate shot. Has always contributed goals and points on a regular basis.”
Therefore, it goes without saying that the new Genting Casino Coventry Blaze forward has a CV to reflect.
Starting major junior with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL in 2001/02, the Winnipeg, Canada native played 44 games before he was traded to the Vancouver Giants. The trade which took him from Alberta to British Columbia (and included former Blaze Defenceman Rory Rawlyk) was a big springboard for the Manitoban.
Steve Ewen of ‘The Province’ newspaper called the trade to bring Courchaine to Vancouver, “the number one trade in Giants’ history.” In his rookie year, the dynamic forward scored 16 goals with 12 assists in 29 games. However, this was only the beginning as the youngster went on to register 43 regular season goals, plus 2 in playoff action in his second year (2002/03), good for 5th in the WHL (just outscoring ex-Blaze sniper Owen Fussey). Those 43 goals were a Giants record, only to be bettered in 2008/09 by NHL star Evander Kane.
In 2003/04, Courchaine’s third season as a junior, he would go on to be a WHL All-Star scoring an impressive 39 goals and 43 assists in the regular season and 4 goals with 6 assists in 11 post-season games. That year would see the new Blaze man picked in the 7th round of the NHL Draft to the Minnesota Wild.
Adam’s senior year with Vancouver saw him score 28 goals with 50 assists in the regular season and 4 goals, 3 assists in the playoffs. His regular season points total (273) with the Giants is good for 2nd overall in franchise history and stood as the record until it was beaten by the now Montreal Canadians forward Brendan Gallagher (pictured below).
Over 241 regular season games with the Giants, Courchaine's record read 126 goals added 147 assists. He led the team in scoring (goals and points) in both 2002/03 and 2003/04 and led the side for assists over 2004/05.
On turning pro in 2005, Courchaine would spend just one season in North America, splitting his time between the Houston Aeros (AHL), Gwinnett Gladiators (ECHL) and Pensacola Ice Pilots (ECHL), the latter of which he spent most of his time with.
Despite only playing 42 games in Pensacola, he scored 21 goals, 28 assists and would lead the team in goals and points, outscoring some past EIHL star names such as former Blaze forward Luke Fulghum, Brendan Cook who iced for Nottingham and Braehead, and Christ St. Jacques who had an outstanding part-season in Edinburgh.
It was a disappointing season overall for the Ice Pilots though, since the year previous they had set a franchise record with 51 wins, however 2005/06 saw them win just 21 games and miss the playoffs.
In 2006, Courchaine then decided to head overseas to ply his trade, accepting an offer to join the Zell Am See Polar Bears in the Austrian 2nd division. Swapping the ECHL for the picturesque Zell Am See would prove to be a perfect move for the high-scoring forward. Registering 41 goals, 50 assists in only 32 regular season games and 3 goals, 11 assists in the playoffs, Courchaine developed a reputation for scoring big goals. None came bigger than a hat-trick on Christmas Eve against Feldkirch which would mean Zell Am See topped the table for Christmas. Whereas the Polar Bears would end up finishing 4th in the league and losing in the semi-final of the post-season, Adam would finish 2nd overall in the league in points, leading the way for an offer to move north to DEL side Duisburg.
His reputation as a lethal, clutch scorer followed him to Germany and in his first season with ‘The Foxes’ (2007/08) he led the team in goals (28) and points (50). Playing in the All-Star Game, his 28 goals put him 6th in the DEL’s goal-scoring charts. As he became highly sought after, Courchaine took the decision to leave Duisburg who only won 10 games that season and finished a lowly 15th in the league.
With a wish to join a team who would look to hoist silverware, Courchaine joined the DEG Metro Stars based in Düsseldorf ahead of the 2008/09 season, and it proved a fruitful move for the Canadian. The campaign saw the Stars finish 3rd in the league and narrowly miss out on playoff glory, losing out to the Berlin Ice Bears who completed a league and playoff double. Despite the disappointment of the playoff final loss, Courchaine was to be comforted being named Playoff MVP after contributing 12 goals, 4 assists over the 16 games. Those points came in addition to his 14 goals, 24 assists over 39 regular season games. A further proud moment for the new Blaze addition in that same season was his call-up to represent Team Canada in the Deutschland Cup where he would get an assist in the 3 games played tournament.
In total, he would spend four seasons with the Metro Stars icing in 228 games, scoring 174 points. His most productive offensively was the 2009/10 season where he scored 19 goals and had 27 assists in league and playoff games.
In 2012/13, Adam moved on, signing with Graz 99ers of Austria. It was not to be a successful venture though after playing just three games, he sought out familiar pastures signing for a second time in Duisburg, who by then had fallen to the 3rd tier of German Hockey. “Due to the NHL lockout, it is difficult for foreign players to find a club,” explained ‘The Foxes’ boss Ralf Pape. “He is awaiting a high-quality offer of course but until further notice he will play with us.”
That further notice was to last 9 games as Courchaine’s contribution of a massive 24 points caught the attention of DEL side Krefeld Penguine who quickly snapped up the left-shooter, who joined NHLer Christian Erhoff on the roster.
“The opportunity to find a high-quality player at a reasonable price due to the ongoing lockout is very good so we just had to take the opportunity. Adam is a proven, dangerous forward with leadership qualities who will certainly help us,” said Rüdiger Noack, General Manager of the Krefeld club.
Head Coach Rick Adduono also said, “I know Adam from my time at Pensacola where I was able to coach him for a year. He left a very good impression there and I know he will give us his all.”
The confidence in Courchaine was well-rewarded as he ended the season 5th on the team in scoring, with 17 goals, 18 assists over 33 games. A contract extension followed ahead of the 2013/14 season, as he would go on to have his most prolific season in the DEL with 29 goals, 45 assists in 51 games. Despite the #12 leading the league in assists and points, also setting a franchise record for most assists in a season, the Penguines were to just miss out on silverware finishing 2nd in the league and losing in the quarter-finals of the playoffs.
Despite all the goals and assists, one play from January 2014 got the hockey world talking about Courchaine - an incredible behind the back, blind pass of a dropped stick to teammate Kevin Clark who caught it with both hands! You can watch it here:
With teams in Scandinavia courting Courchaine in the summer of 2014, Krefeld managed to keep hold of their prized-asset, offering a three-year contract. The season would begin where the last ended with the Canadian quickly finding his scoring touch, firing 4 goals and 2 assists in 6 Champions Hockey League games.
Despite the multi-year deal and 11 goals, 12 assists in 27 games, Courchaine departed the DEL side in January of 2015 by “mutual agreement”. A quick stop in the Swiss B league with EHC Olten to end the season, was then followed by a move to the Czech Extraliga and HK Hradec Kralov.
Over 2015/16, he would form a lethal partnership with fellow import and Italy international, Brian Ihnacak, with the pair finishing in close proximity in the scoring charts, the Blaze man scoring 17 goals, 13 assists in the 48 regular season contests.
Last season saw Courchaine split his time between Hungarian side, Feheraver of the Austrian EBEL (16 games, 10 points), followed by a spell back in Düsseldorf, where he had spent much time previous in his early DEL career.
“Adam Courchaine has already proven his goal scoring threat in the DEL consistently,” said Head Coach of Düsseldorfer, Christof Kreutzer (pictured below). “I am sure he can help us with his killer instinct.”
Sadly, despite Courchaine’s 11-point contribution, the team were to miss out on the playoffs finishing in 11th place. With the German club confirming the departure of a number of players and coach in the April just gone, Courchaine again became subject to high demand.
With help from the Coventry University Business School, Danny Stewart, Head Coach of the Coventry Blaze is the man whose persistence has paid off, pulling of the major coup to bring the now 33-year-old to the British Elite League and the Skydome Arena.
"I am extremely excited to come and play in Coventry," said Adam. "It is an honour that I am looking forward to. I am also very excited to go to school again and thank the club and Coventry University Business School for giving me the opportunity."
You can see Adam Courchaine make his Blaze debut against the Manchester Storm at the Skydome Arena on Wednesday 23rd August.
He will wear #41 for the Blaze and you can sponsor an item of his kit now by calling 02477 719919.